Mike Lindgren's Reviews > Cheever

Cheever by Blake Bailey
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's review
Jun 08, 09

bookshelves: nonfiction
Read in October, 2008

It's an enlightening experience to read Blake Bailey's biography, though not in the way I would have expected. Bailey is a fine writer and an obviously indefatigable researcher, but in terms of a general sense of Cheever's life, there is not much in his book that you can't get from Scott Donaldson's John Cheever (1988). Spending seven hundred pages in close proximity to this haunted, irascible, petulant, and deeply humane man's life has only confirmed my ultimate ignorance of exactly how literary attraction works and what motivates our affinity for a person's words, the majority of which, in this case, were committed to paper quite some time before I was even born. From "Cheever in Charge," n+1 book review online, May 2009.

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